No win No fee agreements in the spotlight

  • Posted

Posted 10/01/2014

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There has been a rise in complaints to the Legal Ombudsman who has found examples of very poor service where providers have failed to honour agreements or have exploited loopholes in their contracts, with serious consequences for their clients.

There is concern that the phrase ‘no win, no fee’ could be misleading as it may imply that the client may not be liable for any costs whatsoever in any circumstances. Discussions are underway as to whether the branding of such an agreement  needs to be changed.

The Legal Ombudsman has suggested that such agreements should be monitored and reviewed by regulators to ensure they do not lead to consumer detriment. Recommendations also extend to lawyers taking great care in their explanations over what costs could be incurred and taking great care in their risk assessment of the case at  the outset.

Sharon Allison, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, says: “No win, no fee agreements have been around for some time now, and provided they are properly explained by a reputable and experienced lawyer, they can and do work well.

“With the withdrawal of legal aid for many different types of claims, no win no fee agreements have become the main funding mechanism. It is, of course, necessary to ensure complete transparency for the clients so that they are fully aware of what costs might be incurred and when. As a regional and national specialist firm, Ashtons Legal prides itself on doing this clearly and effectively as part of our ongoing commitment to giving clients a top notch service”.


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